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“Drinks Friday night?” is one of the most common first messages I’ve been sent on a dating app — and it’s never worked on me. I get it, drinks on the first date are a casual way to connect with someone, but doing the same old awkward chat over a couple of cocktails gets boring after a while. And, if your date has ever had one too many, you’d know there is no romance in sitting at a bar watching someone get drunk.

Hollywood really told me that dating was going to be unique, and yet countless online-to-IRL dates, I am tired of sitting on wooden barstools watching some 20something guy down beer after beer. So, if you’re sober-curious, just looking to make a connection without the rose-colored glasses of a light buzz, or you are sick of boring mocktails, don’t worry: I’m here to save the day. If you are looking to add some spark and romance back into your dating life without adding alcohol to the mix, here are some date ideas to try.

Try a coffee date.

This is a classic for a reason: if your latest Bumble match is looking to go out for drinks, suggest coffee instead. Grab your favorite latte and chat the same way you would at a bar. 

Go for a walk.

If you want to get to know a new connection in a better way, take a walk around your city and chat with them. This is a perfect way to enjoy your city while dating, and, of course, you can grab a coffee to sip on while you chat. 

Go to a museum.

Go to an art museum and point out paintings that remind you of them if you have been with your partner for a while, how romantic. Also, check museums with interactive exhibits for additional flair. 

Take a cooking class.

You can totally live your best Italian dream while taking a pasta-making class, wine not included. Plus, this is a learning (and an eating) opportunity, so sign me up!

Go thrifting.

But, take it up a notch by picking outfits for each other (bonus points for ridiculous campy getups). Then, put the outfits on and wear them to dinner. This one is sure to bring some added laughter to your date. 

Go to a drive-in movie.

Take the movie-going experience up a notch this summer and head to the drive-in. But, this is an elevated movie experience so fill your trunk with pillows, blankets, and snacks, and cuddle up to enjoy. 

Get a coffee and go for a drive.

Sometimes the most romantic moments are the ones that aren’t planned so grab your partner’s favorite coffee, put on your favorite playlist, and drive around exploring streets you have never been down. 

Watch the sunrise (or sunset).

Something about watching the sunrise feels like a way to romanticize your life, it has such a vibe. Cuddle up in a blanket and talk about everything or nothing, I don’t judge. 

Have an at-home spa night.

Self-care is even better when it’s a date. Hit up the pharmacy for face masks, nail polish, lip scrubs, or whatever else is a self-care must-have. Light a new candle to add a little ambiance. 

Head out for a Food Crawl.

Just cause you aren’t looking to drink doesn’t mean you can’t restaurant hop. Head to your local downtown area and have an app, entree, and dessert all at different restaurants. 

have a Board Game night.

This is perfect for a double date, or having the entire friend group over. Prove you and your partner, newest boo or Hinge swipe are a power couple by working together to win as many board games as possible. 

Cook breakfast for dinner.

There is way less pressure to drink at a restaurant, so if you want to go out for dinner opt for pancakes. It’s time for some deep convos at Waffle House, a la the Jonas Brothers

Try a new workout class.

Add a little zen to your dating life by heading to a yoga class. Or, add a little extra heat by inviting your new babe to kickboxing. 

Go for ice cream.

There is something about an ice cream date that is literally just perfection, especially on a warm summer evening. 

Have a make-your-own pizza night.

Put on “That’s Amore” and make pizzas at home: decorate them with your favorite toppings in fun shapes. Pro-tip? You can buy the dough from a local pizzeria for better flavor and to support a local business. 

Go out for a painting night.

So many paint nights are paint-and-sip now, which is a bummer for us sober-curious girlies. Check out paint night options at the local library for a sober option, or put on a Bob Ross video and follow along. 

Take a stroll at the farmers market.

It’s spring, and that means it’s the perfect time to stroll at the farmers market. Eat a pastry, look at expensive soap, and chat about your preferences in cooking, you will probably learn a lot about them. 

Cook dinner together.

OK, here are some tips for cooking dinner at home to make it more romantic: put on a jazzy playlist and use the ingredients from your morning at the farmers market. The vibes will be immaculate and the conversation will flow. 

Have a tea party.

We are all excited for Bridgerton season 3 so get ready with an afternoon tea with your boo, you burn for them after all. Find fancy flavors of tea and get cute miniature pastries, and then pretend you are the diamond of the season. 

Grab a couple’s massage.

Add some serious relaxation to your dates by booking a couples massage. This is a post-finals must for me. 

Go for a hike.

Get outside and enjoy some nature as the perfect first date. Explore your area, chat with your date, and get in a workout: literal perfection. 

Visit the botanical garden.

I am a flower girl through and through, so this is a go-to for me. It’s like a museum but everything is alive, and you can point out what flowers you love… just in case this progresses past a first date and they decide to buy you flowers. 

Go to a theme park .

First dates come with nerves for sure, so what better solution than adding in the adrenaline rush of roller-coasters? 

Test out Chopped, IRL.

Ever wonder how the contestants on Chopped do it? Pick out some crazy ingredients and cook dinner together using whatever you can find in the cabinets or the weirdest ingredients at your grocery store. 

Get all dressed up… and go nowhere.

I know you have a sequin dress you have been waiting to wear somewhere, put it on and get ready to strut your stuff. Then order takeout and eat on your couch: the definition of all dressed up with nowhere to go. 

Make a fort.

Get cozy with your date by building a blanket fort in your living room and creating a no-phone zone. Give yourselves the space to really find that connection. Make it more casual by ordering a simple takeout fave, like pizza. 

Go berry picking.

Spend the day outside on a farm surrounded by nature and delicious fruit. Take your haul home and turn it into a pie together. 

Play with legos.

Challenge your date and yourself by making Lego sets together: the first person to get theirs assembled wins. Add a little more romance by making them for each other. 

Go star-gazing.

Looking for a late night option that isn’t a club? Find an open field or rooftop and watch the stars while sipping on hot cocoa or a mocktail. 

Solve a mystery.

Add a sense of competition to a date by challenging them to solve a murder mystery. Winner gets bragging rights. 

Have an old movies marathon.

Nothing says romance like a black and white movie. Cuddle up on the couch and watch one of the classics while snacking on popcorn and making out, obvi. 

Make s’mores.

Another great late-night summer option: cozy up near the fire, chat, and toast marshmallows. This is also a great way to feel relaxed at a bonfire even if other people are drinking, you don’t feel the pressure because you have s’mores. 

Go bowling.

Bowling is such an underrated date, there is good music, snack options, and the perfect competitiveness to add some sparks to your evening. 


A summer picinic? I’m obsessed. The perfect way to have a relaxed but very romantic date, even if you just do it in your backyard. 


Summer means tons of free concerts, so grab your partner and head to one. Even if you aren’t drinking, this is sure to be a great time. 


Take in the beers for hot dogs for a sober baseball experience and watch a team in your hometown. You’ll definitely learn about them just from watching them. 


I am a food girl all the way, and I love connecting with people over a meal. Weekend brunch has less pressure to drink than dinner. Plus, if you feel a real connection, you can suggest an afternoon walk or bike ride to spend more time with them. 


If you, or your date, has a dog then the perfect date might just be a walk with the dog. ICYMI, dogs are literally the best and you will be able to chat with your date in a casual way. 


Learn if your date is a problem solver and team player as you work together to escape. This is a great way to observe the kind of person they are, and an opportunity to meet their friends by doing it as a group. 


This sounds silly since you already live there but you might learn something new and find cool spots to check out later. 

Julia is a national writer for Her Campus. While she writes for all verticals, her focus is the wellness section, bringing you everything you need to know about relationships, astrology, and the best ways to get down and dirty. Julia is a grad student at Syracuse University where she studies communications. She is a graduate of Stony Brook University, where she studied journalism with a minor in women's studies. During her time at SBU, she was a VS PINK campus rep, and an active member of Her Campus @ SBU. When she isn't writing, you can find Julia reading a smutty romance novel, hitting up her local crystal shop, or thrifting with an iced oat milk latte in hand. She's a Capricorn (but you probably already knew that) and a practicing yogi.